“I learned something early on,” Arthur Elgort says on the phone from his photography studio in Manhattan. “Jazz musicians, in general, liked pretty girls. If you brought a good-looking girl with you, the jazz musicians would say, ‘Can I take a picture with her? And you’ll send it to me? Oh, good.’”
As it happens, Elgort—an acclaimed lensman for Vogue (in all its many international iterations), Glamour, Mademoiselle, and other couture-minded glossies—has known and worked with a whole lot of good-looking girls over the last five decades. He’s also worked with a whole lot of fashion-mag editors eager to up the hipness quotient of their spreads by borrowing from the iconography of jazz, and in many cases getting actual jazz musicians involved in their shoots. When they want something jazzy, they know who to call: Elgort, who’s been an ardent fan of the music ever since first hearing Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong records as a 10-year-old Brooklynite.